You Don’t Get Harmony When Everyone Sings the Same Note. Doug Floyd.


Hello A-Team:

Check out the picture of the week !!!!!  The Flat Patternmaking Class, all made the same swirl skirt pattern.  This was very popular in the 1970’s.  Each pattern was a bit different according to the pattenmaker’s “designer eye.”   They all came out Phenomenal.   So I repeat:  You Don’t Get Harmony When Everyone Sings the Same Note.    Doug Floyd.

The next 2 weeks are packed with holiday cheer and shopping.  After the break, I will resume regular A-Team posts.  In the meantime:  Come to class.  I can guarantee  you will miss out on some important learning.

Ho!  Ho! Ho!



To a Great Mind, Nothing is Little. Sherlock Holmes



Hello A-Team:

Between going to class, enjoy your time shopping !!!!  This will be a spectacular holiday season.  Whether you spend on line or spend in the brick and mortar stores, the climate is right to:  SHOP TILL YOU DROP !!!!  And remember all those interior decorating details.  Those visual mood enhancers are terrific to keep the spirit of the season going strong through January 1.  I still can’t believe that 2017 is just around the corner.

Yes there is class this week !!!!!


Before the break, we draped the princess torso block.  We played with draped cowls.   And we picked our favorite croqui drawing to do our final draping project.  This week, we continue to learn details:  collars and necklines on dartless bodice shapes.


We learned how to sew a continuous shirt placket in a sleeve.  This week, we will continue with the 2 piece shirt placket and the one piece shirt placket.  I know these operations are tough.   BUT, they have so many applications when you sew.  You can use them in necklines and in pants.

Flat Pattern Manipulation:

Last class, we started, but left off on style #903.  This week we will continue flat patterning the style.  Last week, we also picked our final croqui sketch for our final patterned garment due the last day of class in January.   This garment will fit our half scale dress forms.  I hope you gave your final design some patterning thought during the break.  I would like to see how you used the quarter size patterns.

Speaking of the quarter size patterns, I received an email concerning the quarter sizes I gave out to you.  Some of them are not to perfect scale. Multiples would NOT all fit on a single page, if they they were all to scale.  No where on the packet, did it state that the patterns were perfect to scale.  If you want to be perfect, just photocopy the ones in the back of your text…….   The quarter sizes were handed out to help you understand how to cut up your half size patterns into your final garment styles.  It is like thinking out loud.  Also:  Check out page 1 of your syllabus.  It states that this course is taught in half-scale….right in the title.

A few of you, want to draft your own master sloper patterns.  My spring 2016 drafting syllabus, has all the information needed to do this.  Just send me an email and let me know.

Sew Fun 1:

Before the break, we worked on our sleeves and made the half-scale skirt for our bodice-jacket.  Next week we will continue with learning how to set in sleeves in our bodices, how to understitch a v-neckline and make a collar.

Terrific Men’s Wear Tailoring Links:  Highly Educational and this proves Sherlock is correct:  To a Great Mind, Nothing is Little.  Apply this to Tailoring and all its details !!!!

The Guide to Cloth

Scabal and the Permanent Style collaborate to build an in-depth, practical cloth guide with information at every level of detail.


What is it for? How cloth is made? What are its properties? What do I do with it?

Read more


What makes a cloth suitable for a jacket, but not for a suit.

Read more


How to choose your fabric according to composition and construction.

Read more 


A glossary of cloth-related terms, covering everything from different animal fibres and their properties, to the various stages of spinning and finishing.

Read more

See you all in Class !!!!!


It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. Abe Lincoln

president_bush_thanksgiving_day_dinner_in_baghdad_2003Hello A-Team:

Today’s picture says a lot about what presidents do on Veteran’s Day.  Because of the election, Veterans Day did not get as much recognition as it should have.  These men and women are ready to give the supreme sacrifice so that we can keep our country free.  At this moment in time, it is necessary that we all come together and believe in the democracy we live in.  Believe that the original gangsters, and troublemakers, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution KNEW what they were doing when they wrote up the 3 branches of government:  Judicial, Executive and legislative.   Enough said about politics that really has not changed in over 200 years……………

The Classes:

Draping:  Your 5 piece sloper set is due this week.  So are your 3 croqui final pcitures.  This week, you will be draping the princess bodice while the instructor goes around and individually checks your homework for your final project.  The great directions are in your text book.  Toward the end of the class, we will delve into dartless shapes, necklines, collars and cowls.

Upcycling:  Last week, we learned how to sew up a one-piece facing.  This week, we will start working on sleeve plackets.  There are 3 of them, that I want to teach you.  The continuous, the 2 piece, and the 1 piece.  You will use them many times in your sewing career.

Flat Patternmaking:  Your Curved Dart Dress is due.  We will take pictures of your achievement!!!!  Also, your 3 croqui final pictures are due.  I will go around and individually discuss them with you.   I do not want your final project to be overwhelming.  While I am discussing with your peers, you will be flat patterning the bateau neckline with facings.  Style 0601.

This is a side note to this class:  Azizeh gets a gold star for what she did at the end of class!!!!!  I will let her tell you all about it.

Sew Fun 1:  This class is way behind.  So I cut out one class.  This coming week, we will be making a skirt with an elastic waist band, And we will be working on our bodice sleeves.

Links and Things:

tailor__s_poster   There is a great Movie Night coming up at Mesa College.  It is on Tuesday, November 15th.  The name of the movie is:  Men of the Cloth.  If you have the time….go see this.  It is about 3 master tailors.  The link will bring you to the movie poster.

Stretch Knit Ruler instructions.  The following PDF is for the ruler itself.  knit-ruler-free  Thank you very much, Jen !!!!  13 free craft projects.

See you all in Class !!!!!!



We Make a Living by What We Get. We Make a Life by What We Give. Winston Churchill

gwenies-halloween-with-help-from-bob-patti-2016Happy Halloween to the A-Team !!!!

Since when did Halloween grow up.  It used to be for kids.  Just look at these cupcakes for a children’s party!!!!  I just love seeing the kids come by and get a treat.  And I like that they are accompanied by their parents…….

Tomorrow is Halloween.  Yes, there is class.  And yes, there will be treats………….. Come to class !!!!!

Draping on Body Doubles:  This week, we will be drape the basic skirt and pattern it.  We will also be using our croqui to design 3 garments for our final.  Pick something exciting from our text or explore something that is stuck in the file cabinets of your mind.  If time, we will drape the princess bodice.

Upcycling:  We are still learning how to do an inverted kick pleat in the morning course.  In the night course, we are learning how to sew a one piece facing.  And in-between, we are working on our upcycling project(s).  What fun !!!!!

Flat Pattern Manipulation:  We will be flat patterning sleeves and skirts.  Make blocks of your patterns and turn them in for a grade along with your bodice front and back.  We will start to flat pattern your first dress.

Sewing Fundamentals 1:  In the next class, we will be learning to make challenging seams.  Slot, French, Corded, Curved, Flat-felled and the Inset Right Corner.  In our spare time, we will practice making darts.

News and Links:

Job Offer !!!!!

From: Amy Meader []
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2016 1:06 PM
To: Joan McKenna;
Subject:  Great Job Offer !!!!!

Hi Ladies!

We at Tracy Bachman Designs in Poway are looking for people to sew for us evenings and/or weekends. Hours are flexible.  We make skating and dance costumes mainly for dance studios.  We are looking for people with basic sewing knowledge and we are willing to train.  Position pays 10.00/hr.  Would you happen to know of anyone that you could refer to us?  Truly appreciate your time!

Thanks so much!     Amy Meader      619-850-0920

Great News from Sew Pro’s !!!!!

So next Saturday is Sew Pro’s semi-annual trip to the Fashion District in LA.  They are offering a raffle for a seat on the bus !!!!  Yes, they still have about 6 tickets to sell.  BUT…one of the tickets is being donated and all you have to do, is call the Clairemont Store before Wednesday noon – November 2.  1-858-279-2500.  I will be on the bus.  Will you?????

Free Machine Embroidery Design  from Advanced Embroidery Designs.  Remember to download it in PES format, if you do NOT have an embroidery machine.  This is the most universal format.  Check it out !!!!!  This one, is for all you ballet dancers !!!!

Short YouTube Tutorials about Using Sticky Notes:   Another nifty tool found on PC (Windows) computers and often underutilized is the digital version of Post It-like notes, called Sticky Notes.  

Windows 7:

 Windows 8:

 Windows 10:

 Mac version called Stickies:

 Don’t eat the candy.  Come to class !!!!!


Good Ideas are Laughed At in the Beginning. Katrucha Huork


Hello A-Team:

The motivational quote this week, motivates you NOT to give up !!!!

The Classes:

Draping:  This week we will begin draping on our newly created dress forms.  I do intend to run around and take pictures of you with your dress form.   We will be draping the bodice front and back. This is a sew along with Joanie class.  And you will discover how easy it is with your Connie Amaden-Crawford textbook.

Upcycling:  We are still practicing our kick pleats.  We need to do an inverted kick pleat.  And in the morning course, we will do an open kick pleat that is very different then the one we did last week in the night course.  Thank you, Patricia for wearing your jeans skirt with the open kick pleat, last week !!!!  We are also starting our upcycling projects.  In Sew Like a Pro you build on the basics !!!!

Flat Pattern Manipulation:  This week we will be manipulating the bodice front and back.  You will get to understand the beautiful difference between working with a sloper and then turning it into a block.

Sew Fun 1:  This week, we will practice sewing on the different grains:  straight, bias and knit.  You will learn what seams to use with each grain.

A Few Great Links!!!!!

Martha writes:  I am currently watching a tv series on Netflix called Time In Between.
The heroine is a dressmaker and throughout the entire series she is sewing fabulous gowns and designing and marking patterns all the while being a spy for the British during WWII.  Sort of a Downtown Abbey series feel to it.  Subtitles are in English when speaking Spanish and then subtitles are in Spanish if the actors are speaking English.  Takes place in Morocco North Africa and the musical score is very cool.  Beautiful cinematography and the writing is awesome.  Don’t want to reveal to much.  Cynthia recommended the series to me.     Thank you to you both !!!!!

free-mens-neck-tie-pattern-and-tutorial/  from Mina and the Upcycling students:   This is all about ‘Project Realway.’  Sponsored by my favorite Fabric Store in San Francisco !!!!  Britex.  Check out what this designer is doing !!!!  Fighting for the Plus Size Mannequin.

Thank you goes out to Maureen for sending the following article to the A-Team:

Kate Middleton’s pretty blue suit has revived interest in a quiet fashion label favored by Princess Diana

Wearing Catherine Walker (KGC-03/STAR MAX/IPx

WRITTEN BY:   Janet Guyon


October 19, 2016

The Duchess of Cambridge is the world’s best-known clothes horse. She regularly shows up at events wearing outfits by commercial designers who dominate the world’s big fashion shows—names such as Alexander McQueen, Erdem, Temperley, Jenny Packham, Mulberry, Jimmy Choo, Prabal Gurung, and Max Mara, as well as fast-fashion labels like Zara.

Among these big, mass-merchandised brands, Kate Middleton favors one that’s eschewed such marketing, yet has carried on since the death from breast cancer of its founder and designer six years ago. She recently set Twitter alight by showing up on a commercial flight to London after a day in the Netherlands, dressed in a Catherine Walker suit.


Catherine Walker is a slow-fashion survivor when most of the industry has turned to mass production in China, Romania or Vietnam. Classically designed suits, dresses, slacks, coats, and evening gowns are still sewn by hand by 30 tailors and fitters across the street from the brand’s only shop, on Sydney Street in London’s Chelsea borough. Fabrics—fine wools, cashmere and silk—come from Italy and England. Everything is fully lined in silk; no polyester here.

The company was founded in 1977 by Walker, born in France as Catherine Marguerite Marie-Therese Baheux. She married a Overland Park accident lawyer, John Walker, who died in an accident in 1975, and later married her business partner, Said Cyrus.

Princess Diana, who would have been Kate Middleton’s mother-in-law had she lived to see her wedding to Prince William, owned some 1,000 outfits from Catherine Walker; she was buried in a black, long-sleeved Catherine Walker dress. Middleton’s own mother wore a Catherine Walker dress and coat to the wedding. Many of the designer’s pieces are displayed at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Diana, Princess of Wales, arrives at Christie’s auction house in New York, wearing a Catherine Walker dress. (Reuters)

Other designers still do made-to-measure couture, but almost no-one focuses exclusively on fashion as slow as that of Catherine Walker. The company holds no runway shows, nor does it engage in heavy marketing, and it owns the buildings that house its workshops and store, all of which keeps costs down. Twice a year, Catherine Walker sends out invitations to the British press to come to the shop and see the latest designs, displayed on mannequins.

View image on Twitter      Check out these images !!!!!

See you all in class !!!!



I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. Albert Einstein


Hello A-Team:

I have learned that Monday, October 10, is Thanksgiving in Canada.  I wish them all a big dinner and to stay warm.  I had to call Canada this weekend and found out it was snowing in Calgary.  And here we are, in San Diego, where it is vey very warm.  Next week, it will get cool.  Maybe we will see the temperature dip into the 60’s.  The up and down temperatures are sure to continue till November.  Even then, it really doesn’t snow in San Diego.   Hence, I needed to find a picture that expressed the season as I saw it in Southern California.  The leaves are turning colors and Stella, my pussy cat, just loves it.  They crackle under her paws and she has been told not to eat the leaves.   She has been hanging around me this weekend.   I caught a sore throat and had to sleep it off.  I am much better, thanks to all that purring in my ears.

As to the classes:


Last week, we started making the dress forms conform to our bodies.  This week we will finish.  I will make sure that you look marvelous.  Then it will be time to pad out the dress forms and put the cover on.  You will need to bring your cotton upholstery batting, a couple of plastics from a dry cleaners, your sacrificial bra, and your slipcover.  By the end of Monday night’s class, your dress form will be all but completed.  IF you want to leave your form in the back room, make sure you have Amy’s tags.  See the last post.  She tells you where to get them.


We are ready to start our Sewing Operations Portfolio Samples.  There are still one or 2 more Textile Presentations to present.  Some of you have already started working on your upcycling projects.  Remember, you need to have hours, the presentation, the samples and the upcycling project for a grade.

Flat Pattern Manipulation:

Last week, we made 5 master basic sloper patterns out of manila paper.  What you didn’t catch, was that there will be 6.  Some of you have a one dart sloper front and some of you, have a 2 dart sloper front.  In the end, you will all have a one dart and a two dart master basic sloper.  I will show you how.  The rest of the manila paper I have, will be used for the last sloper.  It’s easy.  This week, you will practice making knockoffs and I will grade what you have completed, thus far.  I checked the pricing of a stamp to remember everything you need to put on a pattern/sloper.  Staples wanted $50 for the simple 3 by 5 inch stamp. It was NOT even self-inking.  I just can’t do it.

Sew Fun 1:

2 weeks ago:  we serged and learned some marking techniques.  This passed week, I didn’t hold the class.  I took off to kill what was brewing before it got really bad.  This week, we will finish up all our prep and begin to sew.  This is the week, we will get into TLC for the school’s straight stitch sewing machines.  I will be back to teaching with a post nasal drip and a cough.  The last remnants of what was starting up.

Links and Things:      Denise wanted me to share this sewing link with you.  Hope you find it useful !!!!!  There is alot of information here.  Sue Box is a fabulous site that sometimes has free embroidery designs.  Make sure you download them in PES format.  This one, is the most universal, if you do not have an embroidery machine.

I belong to sew many newsletters.  The best for Tailoring is Scabal.  Here is the last post.  My advice is to join this group.  They are very classic.

For those of you, who are starting your own business:  Here are some Liz Goodgold words.  Subcribe to her blog.  She will share lots of gems….

7 Secrets to Creating a Pitch that Gets You Funded

  1. Create a Head Whip Effect in Your Opening Sentence – Startle us; give us an amazing statistic, tell us a story, but make sure we tune in from the get-go.
  2. Make it Absurdly Simple – As I often say, “Your mother should be able to understand and invest” without a Harvard MBA. Yes; make it that simple!
  3. Get Rid of Every Acronym – Your audience doesn’t work in your field so ANY acronym makes no sense to us; spell out every single word. From IP to FP.
  4. Tell Me About Your Competitors – If you don’t have any competitors, I assume there isn’t a market. Very few products today are so revolutionary that they are the first in their field.
  5. Translate the Familiar to the Unfamiliar – When I was a book editor at Times Mirror, we often pitched new books this way: “it’s like a Sue Grafton murder mystery set in the 1800s;” or “It’s like Die Harder up in space.” Or, use a metaphor: it’s as if yogurt for the skin providing soothing relief.
  6. Make An Ask – What do you want? How much money do you need? What is the next step you want to happen? Remember: There is no selling until you ask a question.
  7. Master the Art of Q&A – Handling the question and answer period is rife with danger; it’s too easy to insult someone, speak over a question, or invent an answer. Practice handling rapid-fire questions in advance.

See you all in Class !!!!!



Something good happens every day. You might have to look for it, but it is there !!! Joan McKenna

Crazy Quilt 5 Watches

Hello A-Team:

Today and tonight just flew by !!!!!  I blinked and the day was done.

Draping:  Last week we were in the computer room making our dress form slipcover patterns.  This week, we will be sewing them up and trying them on.  Remember to bring your special 48 inch zipper.

Upcycling:  We started our textile presentations, last week.  We have our sewing operation patterns cut.  We also had 2 students complete their first upcycling garment.  (Yeah !!!!!)   This week, we will continue with our presentations and I will teach you how to mark your fabric.

Flat Patternmaking:  Still working on our first patterns.  October 5 will be the last time we are working on these.  We need to cut them out of Manila Paper and learn some flat pattern manipulation !!!!

Sew Fun 1:  We serged and learned some marking techniques.  This week, will finish up all our prep and begin to sew.

And yes, all classes will continue till the end of January !!!!! 

Happening at all campuses:   THE PINK PATCH PROJECT: Help Us Find a Cure!   Go to the office.  Patches cost $10 each.  Support Breast Cancer Research !!!!


See you all in class.



Making It Work


Hello A-Team:

This is an Ode to Tim Gunn. This weekend, I had the opportunity to hear Tim Gunn be interviewed on a radio program.  I also found an article about him in the Washington Post.  He is right.  He is always right.  See the links.  Also, a big Thank You to Amy, who found an anti theft device for our life-size dressforms.  Carol sent in an Youtube video on how jeans are made.  Thank you all contributors !!!!!!

The Classes:

Draping:  Last week, we took personal croqui pictures.  We also measured for our Patterns.  This week:  We will be making croqui and a special pattern for our dress forms with the use of Patternmaker software.  Remember to bring a fairly new, or new tape measure and your USB !!!!! 

Upcycling:  We did Fabric Burn Tests.  What fun.  We also worked on cutting our fabric for our Advanced Sewing Operations Portfolios.  This week, we will finish working on our Portfolio patterns.  AND we will begin to have our Textile Presentations.  Bring your upcycling to class, so we talk about it.

Flat Pattern Manipulation:  We will finish making complete first patterns that will be used to cut our muslin toile samples to check the fit on our half scale dressforms.  If everything goes well, we will be able to make our final manila master sloper patterns toward the end of class.  Because of this, we pushed back our Knock-Off project.

Sew Fun 1:  We finished cutting our Sewing Techniques portfolio patterns.   When fusing, it is necessary to let go and let the fabric!!!!! We started learning to care for serger sewing machines and learned how to use them.  This coming week, we will concentrate on learning how to mark our patterns with symbols that will help us sew.


Tim Gunn:   Washington Post Article.  Radiio Interview with Tim Gunn.

Anti Theft Devices:   I bought one to attach to my form model so that I don’t need to worry about it “disappearing”; if it does, it can be tracked down. There are several types that I looked at; Tile is very popular but I was not happy with it being a disposable unit – good for a year and then you toss as the battery cannot be replaced.  I opted for the latest XY3 because of the mapping feature, the app is free for IOS & Android phones (no monthly service charge), and you can run the app in the background so it does not eat up your phone battery life.



How jeans are manufactured:  Thank you for sending this, Carol.

See you all in class !!!!!!



There is Nothing so Stable as Change. Bob Dylan

Cats Playing in a BandHello A-Team !!!!

I love this photo that was obviously photoshoped.  There is just something about a parade of furry children.  Today, while I was on the computer, I watched a program with dog land races, dog jumpers, and dog surfers.  There was more life guards, camera men, and people then there were dogs.   NO one was getting hurt.  Commandment #11:  Safety First !!!!!!  I LOVED it.  Great working background.  I just could not help myself from watching and laughing.  The trainers spoke about their athletic pooches just like they spoke about the Olympians in Rio.  What fun !!!!

The classes this week:

Draping:  On Monday, we still need to go over the patternmaking glossary.  I will be taking personal croqui pictures and you (in sets of 3) will be taking measurements to make a computer pattern for your dressform slip cover.   Remember to wear leggings, your sacrificial bra and a tight t-shirt.  A tank top is even better.  There is a supply list that you need for this day, written in your syllabus.  Bring everything you need.  Have you bought your 48 inch zipper, yet???????   I hope Amy has come up with a simple device for theft control.  I am worried, that if you leave your dressform in the stock room, it may disappear.

Upcycling:  By Tuesday, you know your textile presentation fabric name.  Hopefully, you have started your research.  This week, you will be cutting your fabric samples for your Sewing Operations Portfolio.  Maybe, some of you, have 2 or 3 garments that you are deciding on how to combine for our upcycling project.  We will also be burning fabric to learn some fabric identification techniques.  You will be surprised !!!!  There is more synthetics out there, than natural fiber fabrics.  Next week, we will start our Textile Presentations.  Yes, I bought a copy of Daddy’s Ties.  It should be here, by Tuesday.

Flat Pattern Manipulation:  Some of you feel that it is a requirement to buy a half scale dress form.   IT IS NOT !!!!!  Unless….you really want to.  My courses are expensive enough without adding anything to them.  This week, we will finish walking off and truing our first pattern slopers.  Then we will cut our 5 piece muslin toile sloper to adjust the fit of our patterns, one last time.   You will be adding 3/8 inch seam allowances to the fabric.  This sample is a full sample.  Both right and left sides.  Do not put a zipper in it.  It is just a fitting sloper sample.  Just leave the back open.  Your 3/8 inch seam allowance will hold straight pins – just fine.  Remember to bring your sewing kit so that you can sew it up.

Sewing Fundamentals 1:  You are to come to class with your fabric cut on grain from your Sewing Techniques Portfolio Patterns.  Today, we will continue cutting our interfacings.  If you had trouble cutting your knit samples, we can go over this in class, again.  Knits are slippery to work with.  We will also learn how to fuse interfacing to our fashion fabric, have our first lesson on sergers, and be introduced to simple marking techniques.  So far, no decision has been made concerning this course.  I know my class size is very low.  Perhaps I will have more news for you during class.  

Links and Things:

Here is a link from Maureen concerning sewing machine purchases.  It is entitled:  Too Much Information (Updated.)  The article is very very good.   Thank you Maureen.

Some of you may have heard that there is a wild professional growth tour in March 2017.  The link is from Maureen.  If you want to go, your deposit needs to be in before September 30th, 2016.   Again, Thank you, Maureen.  The name of the tour is Mrs. Weaver’s European Lingerie Tour.   Check this out !!!!!  I have asked my Dean, if I can have time off for this Once in a Lifetime Professional Growth Experience.

Here is the Job Posting email from Gariela.

From: Gabriela Rubio []
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2016 3:09 PM
To: Jeanne Reith; Joan McKenna


I would like to introduce myself. My name is Gabriela and I am the brand manager at Alexia Maria. Alexia Maria is a high-end women’s wear brand. Our collections mainly consist of formal pieces such as silk faille gowns and dresses. Our flagship store is located here in San Diego as well as our atelier where we design and make all of our pieces. We are currently looking for pattern makers and sample makers. I would like to know if you have any students or alumni that are interested or that you would like to recommend for this type of job. Please let me know if you can offer any help.

Thank you!

Gabriela  is ALEXIA MARIA Brand Manager

1261 Prospect St. #2 La Jolla, CA 92037

See you all in class !!!!!